Sundargarh: Nuakhai is the most important festival celebrated in every household of western Odisha. On this day, new paddy is eaten for the first time at home and this occasion is celebrated in joy of its good harvest. In today’s society where conflict, resentment, jealousy and ego are increasing between families in every village, Jhurimal village of Lephripara block of Sundargarh district is a rare example of unity, partnership and brotherhood. For 11 years, the residents of Jhurimal have been celebrating ‘Collective Nuakhai’ together at one place, which is an innovative initiative in the entire state.
Two weeks ago, the entire village had started preparations to celebrate Nuakhai in a unique way. This morning, after first worshiping the village deity ‘Sankatmochan Bajrangbali’ and offering rice prasad, every family of the village dedicated new rice to their respective deities and ancestors. After this, every member of 163 families of the village gathered in front of the Sankatmochan Bajrangbali temple located in the middle of the village. Then the ‘Collective Nuakhai’ festival was started with different colourful traditional cultural programmes like Sankirtanya, Samprada and Dulduli etc.
On the auspicious occasion, Sundargarh ZP President Kunti Pradhan and Sundargarh DFO Pradeep Mirase (IFoS) participated as honoured guests. After singing a beautiful Jagannath bhajan, DFO Pradeep Mirase said, “I also consider myself a member of Jhurimal village and will cherish this relationship throughout my life. On this occasion, the Nuakhai song by rising singing star Madhusmita Naik, the film dialogues of Oriya film star Shubham Naik and the comedy show performance of famous comedians Kedarnath Patel and Manoranjan Patel, who joined as special guests on this occasion, were very captivating.
Then the innovative tradition of ‘Collective Nuakhai’ started. All the residents, irrespective of caste, religion, colour, sat in a row and were distributed new rice and various food items. There was no judgement of caste and religion and there was no discrimination between big and small.
A total of 163 families of the village as well as hundreds of people from neighbouring villages joined in to celebrate the ‘Collective Nuakhai’ of Jhurimal. In this festival of brotherhood and unity, the invited guests danced shoulder to shoulder with the villagers. After that, villagers engaged in various extinct games such as Puchi Khel, Shankh Phuka, Hulhuli, Spoon Race, Rangoli, Bottle Flip etc.
Many well-wishers from different parts of the country and abroad congratulated Jhurimal village over the ‘Collective Nuakhai’ celebration and urged the villagers to continue the tradition.
“Collective celebration in Jhurimal will be a guide towards creating mutual brotherhood and building a good society without discrimination. May everyone follow this tradition in the days to come, we Immigrant Indians are proud of Jhurimal village and will meet him again during ‘Nuakhai Bhetghat’ through video conference in the near future which will be organised by NRIs,” Pradeep Patel from the USA said through video message.
In her video message, Deepti Patel from San Fransisco, California said, “In today’s society, when there are rifts in the relationship between brothers, father and son, Jhurimal village’s Collective Nuakhai is a rare example of unity and brotherhood. This initiative will be unique for future generations.
This beautiful Nuakhai festival ends with Juhar-Bhet. All the villagers, forgetting all their fights, touched the feet of every elder person, took blessings and promised to live together throughout their life. In fact, continuation of such a tradition for 11 years is a rare example in today’s society. The entire program was conducted by the staffs of Jhurimal VSS, Jai Bajrang Club and voluntary organisation ‘SEWAK’.